Bronx Boy Turns Cowboy Genius

When Linda Ronstadt tells of someone with “an incredible power of history and tradition in his vocals,” you don’t expect she’s talking about a man better known for playing fiddle, banjo and guitar than for his singing, a man who didn’t even play music for a living before the age of 40. But Bruce Molsky doesn’t fit the usual logic of things. I mean, would you expect a Bronx-born trained mechanical engineer to be called “the Rembrandt of Appalachian fiddle”?

Maybe it’s the engineering know-how that helps him fly those fingers across the strings, that pulls such yearning and exuberance out of his fiddle. Maybe there’s no accounting for it — but there is the chance to enjoy it, on Saturday night when Mr. Molsky brings old time to our time at the Chilmark Community Center, at an 8 p.m. Saturday show brought to us by KCT Concerts in a new venue.

Besides his career playing with bands such as Fiddlers 4 and Mozaik, he’s hugely popular as a live solo performer. Asked to explain that, the head of Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis said Mr. Molsky is a “unique blend of virtuoso and humble, nice guy that is irresistible to audiences.” That is, he’s real, as well as really, really good at performing everything from Virginia reels to Swedish waltzes to cowboy ballads.

See for yourself. Tickets are $15 in advance from Aboveground Records, Island Entertainment, Alley’s General Store, Scottish Bakehouse and the Oak Bluffs General Store, or $20 at the door. Children are admitted free at the door. For more information and reservations, call 508-693-6237 or 508-560-2109.